The Kofi Annan Foundation, with the support of the European Commission, launches regional youth-led action to strengthen efforts in preventing violent extremism in South and Southeast Asia.
This project is the result of a collaboration between the Kofi Annan Foundation’s youth-led Extremely Together initiative, KRIS in the Philippines, the College of Youth Activism and Development (CYAAD) in Pakistan, the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), and Rupantar in Bangladesh. Together, they will establish networks of young people to engage youth in cities to take positive action towards peace and social cohesion.
The project aims to enhance civil society organizations and youth capacities to recognize causes of violent extremism and to create innovative responses to radicalized narratives, placing a strong emphasis on the use of digital platforms and social media to reach and mobilize young people.
Two young leaders of the Extremely Together network Arizza Nocum and Ali Abbas Zaidi will support activities at the local level and endorse the articulation of togetherness and respect for diversity as an alternative to violent extremism through digital awareness campaigns, training and supporting youth-led initiatives across major cities.
“Young people have a unique capacity to improve the world we have inherited,” explains Arizza, the Extremely Together Philippine chapter lead. “Entrusted with the future, it is vital that young people come together to combat violent extremism in the Philippines through education and empowerment – not force.”
Ali Abbas Zaidi, based in Islamabad, Pakistan will support CYAAD in developing campaigning activities and the creation of citywide youth networks of the Pakistan Chapter. He adds that “community mobilization is particularly critical because extremism can only be stopped when the public opposes it. Working at the local level with young people in national chapters makes Extremely Together such a powerful tool against violence.”
The expansion will provide valuable lessons on how to engage young people on countering violent extremism. “Despite existing commonalities on how violent extremism operates across borders, recent attacks, particularly in South Asia, have been conducted by urban, middle-class and well-educated youth. This has changed how extremist profiles are viewed and more importantly, raised the need to diversify our approaches to tackle violent extremism”, says Maud Roure, Head of the Promoting Youth Leadership Programme at the Kofi Annan Foundation.
The two-year regional project in South and Southeast Asia continues strengthening the global Extremely Together movement of young people engaged in preventing violent extremism. The first Extremely Together Chapters were launched in Somalia and Uganda in October 2019. Drawing on these initial experiences, the Foundation aims to adopt and build on the learnings and promote regional and international exchange on best practices on how to foster youth-led PVE action across continents.
About Extremely Together
Extremely Together are ten Young Leaders, all active in preventing and countering violent extremism in their communities and beyond. Together, they produced the world’s first guide, by young people for young people, on how to counter violent extremism your community. Based on this guide, they work to equip youth all over the world to prevent and counter violent extremism and establish a movement that stands for unity, dialogue and inclusion.